Now here is a funny thing. Peter Tatchell, the long time gay rights campaigner in the UK, will be sixty years old on January 25th. Pink News.co.uk is declaring that day to be “Peter Tatchell Day”.
Peter Tatchell is someone who I used to dislike intensely. I recall him being very prominent when I was around 16 or 17 years old. He was fighting for a seat in the Bermondsay By-election I seem to recall. He was very out and very vocal about being gay. I was also out at the time but he made me feel very uncomfortable. I wanted him to shut up. I didn’t like the fact that he was drawing attention to all us homos. He lost the election I recall, and he was also beaten up many, many times and tarred with the “Loony Left” brush that the conservatives wielded so successfully.
He then started his activism in europe too. And he just carried on. And I still wanted him to shut up.
Now, nearly 30 years later I realise that what he did was so vitally important. He may have been really annoying and irritating but I clearly wasn’t comfortable enough with my own sexuality at the time to appreciate him, even though this was a time when I was quite politically active over gay rights. He did the dirty work so that the rest of us didn’t have to. Without his work so much would NOT have happened.
Peter, I am sorry for being embarrassed by you and thank you for everything that you have done and continue to do for the LGBT community.